Cocoa Banana Smoothie

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I think this just may be the hottest week of summer. And that calls for a smoothie–even better, a chocolate smoothie! There’s a soy and non-soy version for this recipe, so you can take your pick. The smoothie I made pictured here is the soy version. I’ve never made a smoothie with tofu before, and it does give the smoothie a nice creaminess. It’s not super-thick, though, so if you’re expecting a smoothie like that, you’ll be disappointed. But it has a lightly creamy texture from the tofu and banana, and the unsweetened cocoa powder gives it a rich chocolate flavor. The honey gives the smoothie a light sweetness that’s just right–not too overly sweet. But if you do want it sweeter, you can always add in a little more honey!

COCOA BANANA SMOOTHIE by NancyC, adapted from EatingWell.com

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings, about 14 to 16 ounces

  • 1 medium size banana, cut into slices or chunks and frozen (for about 3 to 4 hours or overnight)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon soft silken tofu (for a non-soy version, use plain or vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla–for a non-soy version, use regular milk; use 1/3 cup for a slightly thicker smoothie)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 ice cubes

Slice banana and freeze until firm (about 3 to 4 hours or overnight). Blend tofu (or greek yogurt), soymilk (or milk), cocoa, and honey in blender until smooth. Add in the frozen banana slices and blend; then add in ice cubes and blend until mixture is smooth.

Smoothies always sound good to me on hot summer days! What’s your favorite healthy warm-weather treat?

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Strawberry Banana Muffins

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My latest banana-inspired recipe also has fresh strawberries in it–the perfect muffin for summer! They’re so moist and full of delicious chunks of fresh strawberries. I love how the sprinkling of coarse sugar gives these muffin tops a little sparkle and crunchiness, too! I just did a light sprinkling, but you can do a heavier sprinkle if you want a real sugary top. So the next time you have some ripe bananas and fresh strawberries on hand, keep this recipe in mind! :)

STRAWBERRY BANANA MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes 11 muffins

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (cut into small chunks)
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins (use about 1/4 teaspoon per muffin or a little more, if you like)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners; set aside. In medium bowl, blend sugar and butter, then add in egg, and vanilla, blending well. Mix in the strawberries and bananas. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add strawberry/banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and sprinkle tops with coarse sugar, if desired. Bake at 375˚F for 15-16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes, the remove and cool completely on wire rack or serve warm.

These muffins are great for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack–they’d go great with some Strawberry Lemonade, too! Do you have a favorite strawberry/banana recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

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Chilled soups are perfect for summer! And if you like cucumbers, you’ll want to try this one! It has Greek yogurt, green onions, fresh dill, and parsley in it. Some lemon juice and salt give the flavor a little punch and I also added some garlic powder to the original recipe. The croutons on top are a nice touch, too! It’s a great summery soup to serve for a light lunch or dinner.

CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP by NancyC, slightly adapted from Country Living

Makes 6 servings, 135 calories each

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 English cucumbers, peeled, diced, and divided (divide amount in half to add in recipe at different times)
  • 4 green onions, sliced and divided (divide amount in half to add in recipe at different times)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or a little more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • a bag of your favorite croutons
  • more chopped fresh dill for garnish

In a large bowl, combine yogurt and vegetable broth, blending well; set aside.

In a food processor, puree 1 peeled, diced English cucumber, 2 sliced green onions, chopped fresh dill, and chopped fresh parsley. Add this cucumber mixture, along with the lemon juice and salt, to the yogurt mixture in the large bowl; whisk to combine. (Note: if you do not have a food processor, you can put the above ingredients in a blender and puree them all together–your blender will be pretty full, so you may want to blend it in 2 batches; after blending, pour mixture back into your large bowl).

Stir in the other peeled, diced English cucumber and the other 2 diced sliced green onions, mixing well to evenly distribute ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then serve in bowls and garnish with chopped fresh dill and croutons.

Light summer meals like this are perfect for those really hot days. You can use regular cucumbers in this recipe, too, if you’re growing them in your garden–it would be a great way to use them! I would think maybe 4-6 small or 3-4 medium cukes would be equivalent to 2 English cucumbers–that’s just an estimate!

What types of lighter foods do you like to eat during the summer?

Peach Cucumber Salsa

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Creamy Fruit Dip

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If you like tart and tangy, savory and salty flavors, then this is a salad you may want to try! I decided to make this when my friend Greg gave me some cucumbers from his garden. You can’t go wrong combining cucumbers with tomatoes, … Continue reading

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It was just a matter of time before I made this Blackberry Banana Bread, since I love trying different banana bread recipes and blackberry season is in full swing! This recipe makes a nice, full loaf that is dense and moist and full … Continue reading

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Shoepeg Corn Salad with Honey Dressing

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10 Recipes for Cinco De Mayo

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I can’t believe May is here already! I’m so ready for the warm, sunny weather this month brings. And since Cinco De Mayo is almost here, I’ve been seeing lots of fiesta-ish recipes all over the place! I thought I’d do … Continue reading